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Creamy Tortellini Salad

Serve this tasty pasta salad at a picnic or barbecue.

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 9 ounces fresh cheese-filled tortellini (about 2
      cups)
  • 1/4 pound green beans, ends trimmed, beans
      cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Before you start, be sure an adult is nearby to help.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt, dill, chives and garlic until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

To make the pasta, pour the water into a large pot and add the 2 teaspoons salt. Cover, set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil.

Meanwhile, shred the carrot: Using the large holes on a box grater-shredder, rub the carrot over the holes in short strokes to form thin, short strips. Set the shredded carrot aside.

When the water is at a rolling boil, slowly and carefully add the tortellini. Be careful: The water and steam are very hot! Using a slotted spoon, stir the tortellini so that they dont stick together. Reduce the heat to medium-high and boil gently for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cut-up green beans to the pot with the tortellini and continue to boil for 2 minutes more. Add the shredded carrot to the pot and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente (tender but still firm to the bite) and the vegetables are tender, about 1 minute more.

Set a colander in the sink. Have pot holders ready. Ask an adult to help you pour the contents of the pot into the colander. Rinse the pasta and vegetables with cold water and drain well.

Dump the drained pasta and vegetables into a serving bowl. Add the dressing and the milk. Gently toss the salad with the wooden spoon until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Kid's Cookbook, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Time-Life Books, 2000).